The very small country of Andorra is located between Spain and France and is listed as the sixth smallest country in all of Europe. The official name is the “Principality of Andorra” but is also known as the “Principality of the Valleys of Andorra”. It is located in an unusual crossroads in the Pyranees Mountains and is a popular destination for tourists and skiers.
Fun Facts about Andorra:
Population: 74,000 people
Main Language:Catalan, French and Castilian Spanish
Capital City:Andorra la Vella
population Capital City: 21,000 people
Main Religions: Roman Catholic
Area:181 square mi (468 sq km)
Currency Used: Euro
Because of its location, Andorra is ruled by a dual situation: Spain’s Bishop of Urgel and the President of France. The country is ‘landlocked’ (no available access to oceans) and has been listed as a ‘co-principality’ since the 13th century.
- From 1278 to 1993 (715 years) the people of Andorra lived under the unique co-principality.
- Charlemagne of France declared Andorra a free state in 1278.
- Andorra did adopt a constitution of democracy in 1993 and they have a parliament that limits the power of the co-princes.
- Most of the current economy is based on tax-free tourism, shopping and international banking.
People in Andorra are some of the longest living in the world. The average citizen of Andorra can expect to live to a ripe old age of 83. Andorra is listed as the third longest living country in the world.
Andorra has an estimated ten million people that visit there every year due to the warm summer climate and the wonderful winter spots..
- The attraction of many that visit is for the ‘duty free’ (tax free) products that they sell.
- The lack of customs duties and the low taxes have allowed Andorra to turn into an international commercial center with an increasing wealth status.
The turn of the economy has required that Andorra make changes to their policies regarding foreign investments. In the past, they never taxed these investments and now they have added more restrictions to a variety of economic policies.
- Although Andorra isn’t a member of the European Union, they do have a relationship allowing them to use the Euro as their national currency.
- The population growth of Andorra is at 27.4% and they have nine births for every 1,000 people that live there.
- Andorra has a number of ethnic groups that live in the country: Spanish – 43%; Andorran – 33%; Portuguese – 11%; French – 7%; other – 6%
- Even though Andorra is a small country, they have four political groups that are involved in the government.
Andorra doesn’t have any official army, as they are protected by both Spain and France. However, if there is an emergency in the country, all men between 21 and 60 years of age are required by law to defend and serve.
Andorra law dictates that the male head of each Andorran family is required to own a gun in the case of an emergency or an attack.
- As long as you are employed in Andorra, you are supplied with free healthcare.
- Tourists enjoy visiting Andorra because the weather has three hundred sunshine days out of every year.
- Andorra la Vella is the capital city of Andorra and has the distinction of being the highest elevation in Europe. Andorra la Vella is 3,356 feet above sea level.
- Andorra currently has a major concern over both deforestation of the birch and pine trees in the Pyrenees and overgrazing of the land.
Valira is the largest river in Andorra. It is formed from the melting snow from the mountains trickling down and creating streams that run into the river in two main locations: Valira del Nord and Valira d’Orient. The Valira is also a tributary to the River Segre in a similar way that the two main Nile rivers contribute to the main Nile.
Much of the Andorra economy is based on tourism due to the warm dry summers and the excellent skiing conditions and winter sports.
The other industries that exist in Andorra are: cattle raising, banking and timber.
Andorra enjoys a low rate of agriculture through the growing of wheat, rye, oats, barley and the raising of sheep.
Andorra export products include: furniture and tobacco products
Andorra imports electricity, food and consumer goods. Andorra only grows 2% of the food that they consume; all the rest is imported.